My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Dido Twite is a great heroine, all mouthy action, sharp elbows and ideas, and this is the first of the series I’ve read where she’s the main character, but I didn’t enjoy this nearly as much as my other two forays into Joan Aiken’s many books – The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, and Black Hearts in Battersea – which I thought were both brilliant. Somehow the plot here is not as strong, it feels as if there’s too much beginning and not enough end, because the denoument has brilliant possibilities, but is dealt with rather fast. Also the biggest disappointment for me in the book, there were no wolves, despite the fact the book starts with a big coach crash and Dido spends most of the time wandering round the countryside. It still has a lot of fun stuff though – including another of those outlandish and nefarious villainous plots that the baddies in Joan Aitken always seem to come up with.